The MT-LB (Russian: Многоцелевой Тягач Легкий Бронированный, Mnogotselevoy Tyagach Legky Bronirovanny / Multi-Purpose Towing Vehicle Light Armoured) is a Soviet multi-purpose fully amphibious auxiliary armored tracked vehicle, which was first introduced in the late 1960s. Initially, the vehicle was known as the M 1970 in the west.
In the 1970s, the Soviet Central Auto and Tractor Directorate began a development program to replace the AT-P series of artillery tractors (which were based on the ASU-57 airborne self-propelled gun) with a new generation of vehicles. The MT-L was developed to meet this requirement based on the PT-76 amphibious light tank chassis. The MT-LB is the armored variant of the MT-L. Entering production in the early 1970s, it was cheap to build, being based on many existing components, e.g. the engine, which was originally developed for trucks. It is built at the Kharkiv Tractor Plant and under license in Poland by Huta Stalowa Wola and Bulgaria.
The crew, a driver and a commander/gunner sit in a compartment at the front of the vehicle, with the engine behind them. A compartment at the rear enables up to 11 infantry to be carried or a cargo of up to 2,000 kg. A load of 6,500 kg can be towed. The vehicle is fully amphibious, being propelled by its tracks in the water.
A small turret at the front of the vehicle fits a 7.62 mm PKT machine gun with 360-degree manual traverse and an elevation of -5 to +30 degrees. The vehicle is lightly armored against small arms and shell splinters with a thickness of 3 to 10 mm of steel. The infantry compartment has two hatches over the top, which open forwards. There are four firing ports—one on either side of the hull, the other two in the rear twin doors of the infantry compartment.
The driver is provided with a TVN-2 infra-red periscope, which in combination with the OU-3GK infra-red/white light searchlight provides a range of about 40 m. All vehicles include an NBC system.
- MT-LB (izdeliye 6) – basic model, often used as simple APC but also as artillery tractor or ambulance. In the West the term MT-LB Blade or MT-LB M1980 is used for vehicles that are fitted with a hydraulic dozer blade.
- MT-LBV (vezdekhodny) – low-pressure track version, with 565 mm (22 inch) tracks giving a ground pressure of 0.27 kgf/cm² (26 kPa). Used in Arctic regions instead of BMP or BTR wheeled vehicles.
- MT-LBVM – with NSVT 12.7 mm instead of the original 7.62 mm machine gun turret.
- MTP-LB – technical support version with no turret, an A-frame and stowage on the roof.
- SNAR-10 "Jaguar" (stantsiya nazemnoy artilleriskoy razvedki) – with 1RL-127 ("BIG FRED") Ground surveillance radar in a large rotating turret. Range: 16 km. Old NATO designators are MT-LB M1975 and MT-LB SON.
- SNAR-10M "Pantera" – upgraded, automated system with a range of 40 km.
- 9A34 – launch vehicle of the 9K35 "Strela-10" (SA-13 Gopher) system.
- 9A35 – as per 9A34 but additionally with a passive detection system.
- 9P149 "Shturm-S" – anti-tank version with a retractable launcher for 9M114 Kokon ATGM. The vehicle carries 12 missiles on board and entered service in 1979. It has a crew of 2.
- RKhM "Kashalot" (razvedivatel’naya khimicheskaya mashina) – chemical reconnaissance vehicle with detection, marking and alarm devices. This model has the hull shape and single rear door of the 2S1. Former Western designator: ATV M1979/4.
- RKhM-K – command version with additional signal equipment but without sensors or markers.
- RPM (radiatsionno-poiskovaya mashina) – radiological reconnaissance vehicle with a single KZO-2 flag dispenser and equipped with radiation detection devices NGP-81 (gamma), KDN-2 (neutrons), KRB-1 (beta), KRA-1 (alpha).
- K-611 – radiological reconnaissance vehicle.
- K-612 – radiological reconnaissance vehicle.
- AZM "Vostorg-1" (aviatransportabel’naya zemleroynaya mashina) – engineer vehicle, equipped with a hydraulic dozer blade and an extendable hydraulic arm with a bucket.
- MT-LBu – variant with a larger hull and longer chassis. Many so-called "MT-LB variants" are in fact based on the MT-LBu.
- UR-77 "Meteorit" – mine-clearing system with a rocket-launched explosive hose.
- 2S1 122 mm self-propelled howitzer.
- MT-LBM (izdeliye 6M) – MT-LB modernization developed by Muromteplovoz in the 1990s. It can be fitted with several different turrets.
- MT-LBM (izdeliye 6MA) – MT-LBM fitted with a turret from BTR-80, with a KPVT 14.5mm machine gun and co-axial PKT 7.62mm machine gun.
- MT-LBM (izdeliye 6MA1) – MA armed with additional AGS-17 30 mm automatic grenade launcher.
- MT-LBM (izdeliye 6MA4) – MA1 armed with KPVB 23x115 mm instead of KPVT 14.5 mm heavy machine gun.
- MT-LBM (izdeliye 6MA2) – MA armed with KPVB 23x115 mm instead of KPVT 14.5 mm heavy machine gun.
- MT-LBM (izdeliye 6MA3) – MT-LBM armed with four 9M133 Kornet ATGM launchers, 7.62 mm PKTM tank machine gun and an AGS-30 30 mm automatic grenade launcher.
- MT-LBM (izdeliye 6 MB) – MT-LBM fitted with a turret from BTR-80A, using a 2A72 30 mm autocannon and co-axial PKT 7.62mm machine gun.
- MT-LBM (izdeliye 6MB2) – MB armed with AGS-17 30 mm.
- MT-LBM (izdeliye 6MB3) – MT-LBM armed with GSh-23V 23 mm, AGS-30 30 mm and "Kord" 12.7 mm.
- MT-LBM (izdeliye 6MB4) – MT-LBM armed with GSh-30K 30 mm, AGS-30 30 mm and "Kord" 12.7 mm.
- MT-LBM (izdeliye 6MB5) – MT-LBM armed with twin gun 23 or 30 mm, "Igla" SAM and equipped with improved sights.
- MT-LBM1 (izdeliye 6M1) – MT-LBM fitted with 300-310 hp engine.
- MT-LBM2 – MT-LBM upgrade package developed by Kurganmashzavod with new engine and transmission, improved suspension, BMP style side skirts etc. Prototype.
- 2S24 – mortar carrier with 2B24 (or 2B14 "Podnos") 82 mm mortar and 83 rounds. The system designator for the carrier vehicle, mortar, and ammunition is 2K32 "Deva". The 2S24 was designed by TsNII "Burevestnik" and has a crew of five.
- MT-LBVMK – a modification of MT-LBVM with "Kord" 12.7 mm machine gun instead of NSVT 12.7 mm.
- MT-LB AT-I – tractor for mine-laying systems. Fitted with racks for anti-tank mines.
- MT-LB RHR or MR HR (mashina za radiatsionno i khimichesko razuznavane) – NBC reconnaissance vehicle with detection, alarming, sampling and markings devices.
- MT-LB SE – ambulance.
- SMM B1.10 "Tundzha" (samokhodna minokhv’rgachka) – mortar platform with M-38/43 120 mm mortar and 58 rounds.
- SMM 74 B1.10 "Tundzha-Sani" – improved version with 2B11 120 mm mortar.
- KShM-R-81 "Delfin" – command and staff vehicle with R-123M, R-130M and R-31M radios, an AZI frame antenna, a generator and an additional cupola on the hull roof.
- MT-LB TMX – mortar carrier with 82 mm mortar M-37M.
- BRM “Sova” (bronirana razuznavatelna mashina) – reconnaissance version with NBC detection system ASP-3 and VPHR, radio sets R-123M and R-31M, PAB-2 aiming circle and NSPU night vision device. Comes in three versions with additional specialized equipment:
- "Sova-1" – with R-130M radio set, an AZI frame antenna, and a telescopic mast.
- "Sova-2" – with R-143 "Lira" radioset.
- "Sova-3" – with PSNR-5K (1RL-133) battlefield surveillance radar.
- R-80 – artillery forward observer vehicle with observation devices.
- BMP-23 (bojna mashina na pekhotata) – infantry fighting vehicle with 23 mm gun 2A14 and ATGM 9K11 "Malyutka" in a 2-man turret. The chassis is based on the one from the MT-LB but with components of the 2S1 and fitted with a 315 hp engine.
- BMP-23D – improved version with 9K111 "Fagot" and smoke grenade launchers.
- BRM-23 – reconnaissance version. Prototype.
- BMP-30 – similar chassis as the BMP-23 but with the complete turret of the Soviet-made BMP-2. Only 10 built.
Ex-East German MT-LB used by US Marines in the OPFOR
- MT-LB (Pi) – combat engineer vehicle.
- MT-LB (Pzj) – version for anti-tank units.
- MT-LB (Pzj Fü) – command vehicle for anti-tank units.
- MT-LB (BO) SFL – battery command vehicle in self-propelled artillery units.
- SaN MT-LB – ambulance
- MTP-LB – technical support vehicle.
Iraqi MT-LBV fitted with wider tracks.
Iraqi MT-LB converted into a SPAAG armed with a ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft gun.
- MT-LBV fitted with wider tracks.
- MT-LB converted into a SPAAG by mounting a ZU-23-2 23 mm twin anti-aircraft gun on the rear part of the vehicle. The gun had its wheels removed and as such cannot be easily dismounted and used separately. There were at least two variations of this conversion; one with the ZU-23-2 mounted in an open-topped turret, the other with the ZU-23-2 mounted on a platform extending beyond the hull of the MT-LB with a roof for the gun operators. The second version was most likely intended to be used in a fire support role, as the roof would hinder the gun's sights at high elevation.
Polish HSW S.A. (Huta Stalowa Wola S.A.) license produced MT-LB since 1976, and it also developed a modified chassis SPG-2, with better floating capabilities.
- MT-LB-2AP – APC variant with a turret from SKOT-2AP, armed with high elevation 14.5mm KPVT MG and 7.62mm PKT CMG. Prototype only.
- WEM Lotos – medical evacuation vehicle with four stretchers.
- WPT Mors – armored recovery and repair vehicle, produced from 1983.
- R-137T (radiostacja ruchoma UKF) – signals vehicle with VHF radio set R-137. Entered service in 1987 and has a range of 70 to 150 km.
- ZWD-1 "Irys" (zautomatyzowany wóz dowodzenia) – command vehicle, belongs to the automated command set "Irys".
- MT-LB-23M “Krak” – APC variant with a 23 mm gun in an unmanned turret. Prototype only.
- Promet – self-propelled AA gun with twin 23 mm guns, from 1979. Four prototypes only.
- "Przebiśnieg" – electronic warfare system, consists of three different vehicles:
- SZ or MT-LB Z (stacja zakłóceń) – EW/Jamming vehicle;
- SR or MT-LB R (stacja rozpoznania) – Comint/Sigint vehicle;
- WD krel – command post vehicle (wóz dowodzenia kompanii radioelektronicznej).
- SPG-2 – much-modified base vehicle, with reworked nose section and hydro jets for better floating:
- TRI Hors – engineering reconnaissance vehicle, built in series from 1983, armed with 12.7mm NSVT AAMG mounted on a turret;
- WPT Mors-II – armored recovery and repair vehicle, produced from 1986, armed with 12.7mm NSVT AAMG mounted on a turret;
- Opal-I and Opal-II – artillery command vehicles, with a turret with NSWT-12.7 Utios: Opal-I with a 245 hp (180 kW) turbocharged diesel engine SW680/167/1, Opal-II with a 300 hp (220 kW) engine SW680T (YaMZ-238N) and a longer chassis with 7 road wheels on each side. Prototypes only.
- BWO-40 – infantry fighting vehicle with 40 mm Bofors gun. A similar turret was mounted on the BWP-40 (BMP-1 upgrade). Prototype only.
Swedish MT-LB converted into Pbv 401
- Pbv 401 (pansarbandvagn) – modified former East-German vehicle with 7.62 mm machine guns Ksp 95 and Ksp 58.
- Stripbv 4011 (stridsledningbandvagn) – battalion-level command post.
- Bgbv 4012 (bärgningsbandvagn) – Swedish designator for the MTP-LB.
- Rlpbv 4014/T (radiolänkbandvagn) – signals vehicle.
- Stripbv 4021 (stridsledningbandvagn) – company-level command post.
- Sjvpbv 4024 (sjukvårdspansarbandvagn) – Military ambulance.
- Lvrbpbv 4016 (luftvärnsrobotbandvagn, "anti-air missile tracked wagon") – an unconfirmed designator for vehicles, equipped with RBS 70.
- Pvrbbv 452 (pansarvärnrobotbandvagn) – with RBS 56 BILL 1 Anti-tank guided weapon.
List of conflicts
Map of MT-LB operators in blue, with former operators in red
- Hull, A.W., Markov, D.R., Zaloga, S.J. (1999) Soviet/Russian Armor and Artillery Design Practices 1945 to Present. Darlington Productions. ISBN 1-892848-01-5.
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